Alcove Audio
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  • Clear, clean dialog without background noise is the object of all production sound. The proper gear helps, but it's all about knowledge, skills and technique; if you don't know the proper skills and technique the best equipment in the world won't help. A properly scouted location is also a tremendous help. Mics do not "hear" the way that your ears hear, they greatly exaggerate even the smallest sounds.

    If you are in a high wind situation a blimp and dead cat are your only solution, and you will still need the skills and technique. And even then, nothing will help you in a hurricane.

    The NTG-1 kit is okay, as is the Audio Technica AT875 kit (the AT875 has a bit more output level).

    And no, neither of those mics will work with your camera unless you use a mixer or mic preamp that supplies phantom power. If you absolutely must plug directly into your camera you'll need the NTG-2 or AT897. Instead, get the AT875 or NTG-1 and the Tascam DR-100 or DR-40.
    Hey Alcove, I was wondering what the best mic is for making a movie in an outdoor environment primary consisting of just dialogue (No action). I want to remove as much background ambiance as I can because all of the wind sounds and background ambiance in general will be added later in the editing room. I have a budget of around $800 to use on audio equipment and I was thinking of going with the "Rode NTG-1 - Shotgun Condenser Microphone Basic Kit" that you previously recommended to someone. I also have a Nikon D600 camera which I use for making videos so would that kit work with my Nikon D600?

    What application? Wired or wireless? Do you care if it's visible? Who's wearing it?

    If budget is not an issue Tram, CountryMan and Sanken all make excellent lavs. The Rode PinMic is developing a good reputation as a mid-budget option, and Oscar SoundTech is building quite a mid-budget reputation as well.

    When you have the time and the budget you can test mics and lavs on your talent to decide which sounds the best.

    Lavs take a fair amount of prep time to get right. There are lots of places to hide a lav on the talent, and working with wardrobe and hair/MU during preproduction is of key importance.
    Of course it's possible to create one single decent sound for $1,000.

    Oh, you mean put together a sound kit...

    Try this thread (post #9):

    You can save some money by doing a DIY boom-pole, shock-mount, wind protection and making your own cables if you're very handy, and get a DR-40 instead of a DR-100mkII.

    A shotgun is fine for both indoors and outdoors, but you need to do lots of set prep indoors, and booming indoors requires a fair amount of skill to avoid that hollow, roomy tone. A hyper is not a good choice for outdoors.

    You may also want to check out my (rather old, but still applies) blog.

    There are no inexpensive answers. As always, I recommend that you retain someone with production sound knowledge and the proper equipment, even if it's just and ambitious up-and-comer.
    Hey Alcove

    Is it possible to arrange a decent sound for a thousand dollar? Heard that Rode mics are cheap. I'd prefer buying something that helps me in both interior and exterior locations so will a hyper cardioid be good?
    Hi Bob! Say, I'm trying to put together a proposal (this is for my feature animation) for fiscal sponsorship. Part of my presentation includes supplying bios of key personnel. I expect you cannot commit to anything without some sort of concrete contract agreement but may I use your resume for my proposal? I would list you as Sound Designer. If this is something you'd consider would you please pm me a copy of your resume? I've been to your site but didn't want to presume I could just appropriate this information. Whatever you decide, thanks for considering my request!
    A dead cat goes over a blimp; you probably want to look into a softie.

    The DR-100/NTG-2 is a popular combo. Instead, get two battery packs (one charges while the other's in use) for the DR-100 and get the NTG-1 or Audio Technica AT875. The NTG-1 gives better signal level, but runs off of the DR-100 phantom power, which, when it has to supply the phantom power, eats batteries at a ferocious rate. B&H has a nice deal on an NTG-1 and AT875 kits.

    As always, I recommend that you hire someone or rent, but if you must own, invest well and buy smart.
    hi ive seen you around alot and you seem pretty knowledgeable on the subject of sound so i wanted to ask, tascam dr100 + Rode ntg2+ deadcat = good combo right? or would there be better alternatives in there respective price ranges?
    I looked up the oade brothers and their website and saw they had different "levels" of upgrades. Assuming the high definition is always the best?

    And is seems to say in the description what they (oade brothers mod) specifically do to the machines, but are they to help with specific issues/uses, or just a lot of things like improving audio quality and less hiss?
    Each have pluses and minuses. The FR-2 is built like a tank, but the headphone amp has some hiss. I find navigating the PMD-661 a little counter-intuitive. The HD-P2 just feels a little too "plastic" to me, but is otherwise a very nice machine.

    All three are significantly improved by an Oade Brothers pre-amp mod, which I highly recommend, and buying a brand new modded unit from Oade is not much more expensive than purchasing a stock unit.

    I would probably get the HD-P2, but for another $400 I can get the Edirol/Roland R-44 with the Oade Brothers mod and have four discrete tracks.

    All that said, I rent when I need to, as I don't get into the field often enough to justify the expense of owning a field recorder as of yet. Renting also allows me to play with all the new toys when I do go out into the field. :D
    Saw on another thread you posted these as good recorders for sound externally without the problems of the h4n, etc for filmmaking. (I have an ntg 2). I saw your suggestions, but the question I posted on that same thread mysteriously disappeared. Was just wondering if you had a preference on any of the three?
    Marantz PMD-661 - $600

    Fostex FR2-LE - $600

    Tascam HD-P2 - $700
    Anything would be a help. The biggest problem is that the more empty the room the more you need to fill it up with sound absorbing items do to mitigate the bounce problem. You also need to take the time to figure out the proper placement for best affect; and that will change as you change shooting angles.
    I just saw your post on Crackers thread about bounce. Question: Could those foam sleeping pads help, or are the pretty much useless??
    The best ADR "trick" I know is Vocalign. Once you've learned how to use Vocalign properly if a line is reasonably close Vocalign can make the ADR sound/look almost perfect.
    Any ADR tricks you could share would be greatly appreciated and, as always, thanks for all your guidance past and present.
    Oh, I'm just going to to use the AT3035 for VO's and studio stuff. Right now I have a AT875R and a K-Tek boom for exterior stuff and I really need to get a pencil mic for interiors.
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